Follow Their Lead: Newark element14's Journey to Digital Engagement Success

Posted by
Patrick Spencer
LivePerson Contributor
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 13:53

Shortly after getting married, when I was writing the thesis for one of my master’s degrees, my computer began to fail. Its processor had become exceedingly slow, lacking the horsepower to run many of the most recent word processing, spreadsheet, and database programs that I needed for my academic studies and to run a side business. It also booted from and stored data to a 5¼-inch floppy drive, which regularly failed.

We all know the feeling … ‘Did my last 3 pages of hard work save, or did I lose it all because of a computer issue?’ It’s agonizing!

It was time to acquire a new system, but I lacked the money to purchase a new system. Instead, I decided to upgrade a few of the components.

I went in search of a new power supply, processor, 3½-inch disk drive, and hard drive. Locating the right components, reviewing product information, and finding the best retailer was no easy feat; it was time-consuming and frustrating.

Charter: E-Commerce

If only I had known about Newark element14, a distributor of electronic components, my search would have been much easier. Today, the company and its affiliates around the world offer 4.5 million different products, and conduct a vast amount of business online.

But e-commerce wasn’t always the norm at Newark element14. Six years ago, with less than 5% of business conducted online, the company recruited Kurt Gehring to lead e-commerce operations, with a charter to make e-commerce the primary sales channel for the company.

Upon his arrival, Gehring discovered that LivePerson digital engagement solutions were in place—key to fostering a successful e-commerce program. Static, Click-to-Chat buttons were placed on various webpages to facilitate customer service issue resolution. Chat also had evolved into a feedback tool, allowing customers to tell Newark element14 about specific features and functionalities they’d like to see in future products.

From Web 1.0 to 2.0

While it was a good start, Gehring felt much more was possible. “We were still in the Web 1.0 mentality, where customers said ‘Just give me some raw information; I already know what I’m looking for’,” he relates. “But we knew our customers were quickly moving to Web 2.0, where they would ask, ‘How do I get all the information I need to make a buying decision?’”

With that in mind, as part of a larger upgrade to the e-commerce experience about four years ago, Gehring and his team extended Click-to-Chat beyond service pages to areas where customers were in throughout the entire buying process. The results were so promising that the team quickly added proactive chat with rules-based targeting, which  proved even more effective—conversion rates doubled.

And Then Marketing Got Involved

The success of the proactive chat initiative got the attention of Newark element14’s marketing department. “It opened their eyes and they asked, ‘What else can we do with this?’” Gehring recalls. This led the combined team to content targeting. With content targeting, Newark element14 is able to create a personalized message or offer that engages the customer where they’re at and with details about what they’re looking for.

Personalized and targeted digital marketing campaigns give Newark element14 a highly integrated approach to online customer engagement. “It’s so much more effective to upsell customers who are already doing a transaction with us, than to blast something out to a large group of customers who aren’t currently on our site,” says Janet Davila, an E-Commerce Product Owner on Gehring’s team. “LivePerson is truly enabling us to take digital engagement to the next level.”

Digital Engagement Drives E-Commerce Strategy & Results

Newark element14 is still seeing substantial dividends as a result of its integrated efforts:

  • More than 40% North American revenue comes from e-commerce.
  • More than 70% revenue from Europe and Asia comes from e-commerce.

“We have implemented multiple strategies to help move these numbers,” Gehring says. “But digital engagement from LivePerson is definitely a very large factor in that success.”

There is a long list of results from the LivePerson deployment, ranging from a 39% higher average order value for live chat participants to a 57% increase in annual chat volumes.

An Early Lead in the New Digital Era

How times have changed ... 5¼-inch floppy drives were replaced by much more reliable 3½-inch floppy drives. Then floppy drives became obsolete, supplanted by cloud storage.

The same can be said of Web 1.0 and then Web 2.0. The new digital era—Web 3.0 and beyond—dictates that companies engage with their customers at the moments when they want a human touch, and intervene when they need help—even before they seek it. Organizations that figure this out early, such as Newark element14, have a strategic advantage over their competitors and lead the race to capitalize on the opportunities of the new digital era.

Learn more about the Newark element14 journey:


Check out the full scope of Newark element14’s success with LivePerson digital engagement solutions—download the success story.

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